Diary of an estate agent: London buy-to-let investment property

Muddling my Mandarin during highly entertaining conversations with overseas landlords and being upstaged by a man in a suit and white trainers while handling the interior design crowd.
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Strange as it may seem, I always look forward to Mondays and start the day with a three-mile run to get the energy levels up before heading to our head office in Mayfair for 8am.
I’ve got a unique role at Strutt & Parker, which provides a link between two of our busiest departments in London — lettings and London residential development and investment. My position involves liaising with all of the purchasers who have bought apartments in the portfolio of new developments we are marketing across prime central London land.
I speak to about 40 landlords throughout the morning from across the UK and overseas. Some of our buyers are based, or work, overseas in Hong Kong or Singapore, so the morning is the best time to reach them. Conversations are often highly entertaining as my Mandarin isn’t great and their English is sometimes not much better.
I’m in back-to-back meetings with various furniture suppliers to discuss packages they can offer our landlords. Many buy-to-let investors like the convenience of buying a ready-made furniture pack, including a sofa, beds, table, chairs and even kitchen utensils, to fully furnish for tenants. One of my clients recently spent £36,000 on a luxurious pack for a two-bedroom apartment, with furniture from Harrods.
The interior design crowd tend to be a bit more adventurous with their dress sense than us “blue-suit brigade” estate agents — one chap turned up wearing a suit with bright white trainers. He looked as though he had come off the set of an MTV music video.
Just had a near-death ride on the scooter through rush-hour traffic to meet our west Chelsea lettings manager, to discuss some of the new projects under way in the SW10 area and check everything is in place for when these apartments come up for completion. We need to be in regular contact with companies who may wish to rent them for their top staff, and any prospective tenants looking for new-builds.
Part of my job is to offer advice to investors on rental properties. Many are looking to invest in London chiefly for capital growth, but if you buy in the right spot, it is possible to achieve a good four per cent rental yield on top of this. Our clients did this at Ladbroke Grove in W10 and The Landau in Fulham.
I head to Victoria today, which has seen huge redevelopment and investment in recent years. We have been working on a number of projects in the area which are completing over the next year — including Great Minster House and Kings Gate. I’m there to take photographs, which I can send to our investors. Many of our clients have purchased off-plan and some may not have even seen the development for some time.
It’s an exciting afternoon ahead as I’m meeting a potential client for a late lunch at Fino’s on Mount Street to discuss his portfolio of 20 properties in Knightsbridge. He wants to discuss Strutt & Parker taking over the letting and management of his units. My details were passed on by a colleague of his that used our services to rent out a family home in Holland Park. Nice to get a recommendation. 
  • Henry Kruczko is an associate in London residential development and investment at Strutt & Parker (020 7938 3866)

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